Free…Me

A true Brand-You story.

Back when I’d graduated college, the job market was pretty tight. Not as tight as now, but jobs were scarce for communications majors.

I was working as an editor and writer, but I really wanted to get a job in public relations. Unfortunately, I had nothing on resume that showed PR experience, so I wasn’t getting called for interviews.

A friend told about a PR event she ran for a hospital. It sounded good, so I asked if I could borrow the idea.

I visited my local town rec center and offered to plan a “Summer Cycle Safety” event for kids in town. Something to teach the kiddies the rules of the road and encourage them to wear helmets ‘n’ stuff. I wasn’t looking for any money; just a volunteer project for experience.

They liked the idea (and my fee), and agreed to let me organize the event. Got a local bike shop to donate a helmet. Found a local sports-medicine physician to talk about bike injuries. Involved the police department, who brought safety literature. Some refreshments, a few signs, and we had an event.

With the Summer Cycle Safety event, I wrote a press release, which ran in the town paper. And I braced myself for the hundreds of people who would come streaming to the event. (Actually 25 people showed up, but who’s counting?)

Fortunately one reporter/photographer showed up, took a few shots, and we got a small article and photo in the town paper. But that was all I needed. I finally had something for my resume!

The very next PR job I applied for included my freshly updated portfolio. They called me. And I got the job.

I gave a little of me — for free — and it paid off.